Have you seen the latest ad parody? Greenpeace (the masters of unorthodox environmentalism) has teamed up with Yes Lab to facilitate a parody contest as part of a protest effort against Shell’s proposed oil drilling in the Arctic. ArticReady.com is a fake Shell site posting snarky content about drilling for oil and damaging the environment. But what’s really grabbed the public’s attention is the page allowing visitors to create their own fake Shell ad, complete with a customized dig and Shell’s new tagline of “Let’s Go.” The declared winner even had their ad posted on a billboard in Houston. Take a look:
Who says there’s no such thing as bad publicity?
In case you don’t know the story: Shell wants to drill in the Arctic Sea off the coast of Alaska. The Noble Discoverer, one of two rigs intended to drill in the area, broke loose from its mooring and all but hit land in the Aleutian Islands. This incident, although alleged to have not yet caused any environmental damage, is proof that things can definitely go wrong. It also adds to concerns that Shell is not prepared for an Arctic drilling project. Deepwater drilling has proven itself to be highly risky. We saw it with the Deepwater Horizon spill, Shell’s oil spill off the coast of Nigeria, the Swedish spill off the coast of Tjörn, and many others. Plus, this very same ship had a similar anchor failure off the coast of New Zealand last year.
Of even bigger concern is that there appear to be serious failings within Shell’s oil spill response plans. Several environmental groups have sued the federal government for approving oil spill response plans that allegedly, “rely on unbelievable assumptions, include equipment that has never been tested in Arctic conditions, and ignore the very real possibility that a spill could continue through the winter.” What this tells me is that Shell doesn’t have a solid contingency plan in the event of a spill. We all know that accidents happen and things can go wrong; but we should absolutely be prepared if that happens (especially since it seems to happen so often with oil rigs), right?
This failure to fully prepare is all in addition to Shell’s request for a waiver to comply with the Clean Air Act, which would allow for a threefold increase in nitrous oxide emissions and a tenfold increase in its particulate matter pollution (a risk to public health and the climate). Needless to say, the Alaskan community is not pleased.
Back to the ad parodies – is this devastating for Shell? Well, it’s not great. But, in an industry where all major competitors have had a large spill, environmental destruction doesn’t take a company out of the running. Isn’t that a sad fact? BUT, the silver lining is that people are standing up for the environment and demanding change. The public is beginning to realize the damage being done by oil companies, and they want to protect our Earth for future generations. That’s enough to inspire hope in anyone.